Globalization is driving illegal immigration



WASHINGTON - It's little wonder the capital can't get its brains or its arms around this immigration thing.
The surge of Mexican and Central American poor into our Southwest ranks as one of the great migrations in world history.

Estimates of those who have illegally crossed our Southern border since 1993 run from 11 million to 20 million.

Already this number competes with the numbers of Irish, Italians and Poles who came to the United States in the years between the Irish potato famine and the Great Depression. Almost all those folks, it bears repeating, obeyed the law and came through the front door.

Another 66 million Mexicans and Latin Americans will be coming in the next two decades under the amended Senate bill, which is unswervingly supported by New York's two Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That migration alarm is sounded by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that usually backs anything President Bush wants.

Schumer and Clinton don't explain how the Senate bill granting amnesty to illegals and beckoning tens of millions more desperately poor people into the United States helps New York's average taxpayer or its working families. Or how it helps marginalized Americans seeking entry-level jobs.

One answer is found in the financial ledgers of the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU ardently backs amnesty for illegals, which is why AFl-CIO President John Sweeney does.

Clinton has had strong backing from the SEIU. In this election cycle, however, it has put more than $4.2 million into so-called independent expenditures. The money has helped fund organizations like America Votes, America Coming Together and the Lantern Project, all of which are are out to knock off the Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

Schumer chairs the Senate Democratic campaign effort.

All this has nothing to do with why people sneak over our border.

In general, they come for the same reasons the Norsemen set up camp along the River Liffey in Ireland at a place later called Dublin. They were worried about their next meal.

In this era, globalization is the "el Norte" driving force.

Subsidized crops from U.S. corporate farms have collapsed the economies of Haiti, the Dominican Republic and countless other rural societies. Add to this the North American Free Trade Agreement.

NAFTA was negotiated by Republican President George H.W. Bush. But it was rammed through by Democratic President Bill Clinton and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

Labor and human rights advocates begged Clinton to see to it that workers' union rights were protected and that Mexican rural society wasn't ruined by American farm exports. The Democrats turned a deaf ear and passed the law the globalists wanted.

As a result, rural Mexicans have suffered stunning losses in real wages since NAFTA as a result of imports of subsidized corn from the United States, according to the Carnegie Endowment. Nationwide, real wages in Mexico, which were never good, have dropped between 3 percent and 5 percent.

An Economic Policy Institute evaluation of NAFTA said it drove up to 2 million Mexicans off their farms. In Mexico, as in the United States, many studies show, wage disparity has grown, with the benefits of NAFTA channeled to the rich.

This migration, like all the others, is driven by anxiety and poverty. All the fences, drone planes and soldiers in the world won't stop something this big that has been in motion for decades.

Even so, a Senate bill with its empty promises will pass. The political question is whether House Republicans are going to walk the plank one more time for Bush, this time on immigration.